As We All Know, Terrorists Love Delicious Hummus
No ethnic profiling here:
The New York Police Department has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped, the department said.
The NYPD’s Demographics Unit — or Zone Assessment Unit — was developed with the CIA’s help after 9/11. Their purpose was monitoring Muslim-owned businesses and mosques across New York City. Needless to say, the program was a target of controversy and civil lawsuits. (They dropped the moniker Demographics Unit after it was deemed too racist.) Some of the actions included deeming entire mosques terrorist organizations as an excuse to spy on all its members, as well as infiltrating Muslim student groups on college campuses.
Investigative reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman detailed in the Associated Press all the spying activity of NYPD’s Zone Assessment Unit. Not only didn’t foil any terrorist plots, it actually didn’t accomplish anything.
There was an episode of This American Life that focused on this particular NYPD unit. A specific restaurant in Queens was a focal point for police stakeouts. It turned out, the surveillance wasn’t because of suspected terrorist activity, it was because the restaurant served really great Middle Eastern food.
This reminds me a spying action I heard about that took place in San Francisco right after 9/11. The CIA would track the sale of hummus at grocery stores because they came to the astute conclusion that terrorist love hummus. And if the CIA followed the trail of hummus, it would certainly lead right to a terrorist cell. Because, as we all know, terrorists love hummus. The CIA believed they cracked the code because they are food-item specific; they didn’t track the sale of tabouli or babaganoush (it must have been concluded that non-terrorists also love eating those foods.)
Just remember, terrorists love hummus!